• Pablo Lario

Road To Perdition? Are Footballers Too Expensive Nowadays?

Nowadays, football is all about money, money and more money. That's why people like me (Proud football fan since 1998) are starting to have a constant dilemma: Why are clubs increasingly paying more and more for players? What’s the reason behind it? Is this a competition to see who spends the most? Are they stupid!!??

Football clubs, especially the biggest and most famous ones such as Manchester City in the Premier League, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in La Liga, or Paris Sant-Germain a.k.a "so much money I don't know where to hide it PSG" in Ligue 1, are controlled by big corporations and businessmen; basically, people with tons and tons of cash to spend. Due to this "tiny" fact, football fans have started to associate huge prices for huge players (When I'm saying huge, I'm not referring to the size of their balls). That’s why people would think: Neymar? £222M? That's crazy! He's not worth that much!! Yeah... He's skilled and has done a lot for Barcelona... SOLD!!

But, what about... Griezmann to Barcelona for £120M? (RIDICULOUS!!) Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid for £126M? (That kid is gonna be something) Or Harry Maguire to Man Utd for £80M? (WHAT!!??) My opinion doesn't matter here, as everyone would see this as "fair prices".

How the f*** is that a fair price, ahhh!!?? Only because one player costs more than another, people cannot start to think there’s a limit for the prices a club should pay for a player, so then, if the price of the player your club is paying is lower (Still too high, man!) than another one, you will think that’s not expensive? FFS!!

To understand this, we need to go back (Back in time, Doc?). When did all of this start? And more importantly: What will happen if this continues like this?

Big European football clubs. Those a**holes are the ones who started all this "problem" with the new hyper-inflated market. Let's use the Premier League as an example... Cough, or should I say, "The Cash League".

First, it is well-known by many football and non-football fans around the world that most of the top English clubs in their majority are bought and controlled by foreign owners, as the FA has allowed anyone from anywhere to buy a football club, if they have the necessary cash to afford it. Very noticeable examples are Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the owner of Manchester City as well as Román Abramóvich, who owns Chelsea FC. Obviously, there are other foreign owners in their respective clubs. These examples show that these clubs have achieved some greatness and power thanks to their owner, who usually are the type of filthy rich people, who might have obtained part of their fortune thanks to oil money as well as industrialisation. But, "show a nice smiley face to the fans and the cameras and they won't notice s***".

Now, when a club is looking for a player to buy, the price of that player will usually be ultimately down to what clubs are willing to pay for him. So if Manchester City wants to obtain a player at all cost, they only have two options: The “cheaper” one, which consists on paying the player’s release clause (in case the player has one) or the "expensive" one, where the club would need to negotiate with the player’s club in order to obtain the footballer.

Phil Smith, a football agent from First Artist Agency, who has represented players such as Tottenham star Harry Kane, Gianfranco Zola, or Andrey Arshavin among others in the past, pointed out: “It is a question of supply and demand, with the agents having little overall influence. The greater the competition, the higher the price.” Agents will encourage as much interest as possible in the hope of driving up their players’ worth, and consequently their fee, but there is only so much they can do.” However, people could be led to believe that: Oh! But that price is alright because he’s such a good player. Obviously, it’s understandable my club is paying so much for such talented player. Mate... THESE PRICES ARE NOT JUSTIFIABLE!!

Besides having rich, wealthy owners in your favourite club, footballers can also contribute to the budget a club has to spend during the different transfer windows. Big and popular footballers such as Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7) or Lionel Messi are more likely to bring the attention of big brands (Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Bet365, etc.) to the club. Clearly, the brands don’t just bring their football expertise to the club, but their fan base along with them, making their respective clubs win a lot of profit by selling their image rights, the player’s official kit and other media supports, in order to capture a bigger fan base, and with it, become filthy rich. So, the bigger the club is, the bigger the fan base is, the larger reach of the audience for big brands, or the bigger medium of marketing of products and services, the more income and budged the clubs are going to have to spend.

Moreover, with the increasing inflation of various clubs as well as converting football into a market of advertisement of goods and services, there’s a big inflow of currency in the footballing sport with billionaire magnates, media outlets, advertisement promoters, as well as major sports brands, ready to invert as much cash as they can, so they can reach wider audience. Clearly, by doing this, the big clubs obtain a clear incentive to go after the biggest names without having to worry about the financial considerations, except FFP rules, which for example, PSG didn’t strictly follow during the Neymar £222M world-record transfer in 2017 (And now he wants to get back? HA, HA, HA, HA!! Funny one... IT'S FOR REAL!!??).

Stupid and silly examples like this have been seen in the past: For example, when Juventus brought Gonzalo Higuaín from Napoli, as they were looking to win the Champions League regularly and become better than ever. That’s why they thought it was normal to spend £78M on the Argentinian fatty man. WTF!! But that's not all. A similar case of going and spending money like crazy b****** was seen by Leicester City, after winning their first (and probably last) Premier League title in history. This is one of the main reasons why footballers’ transfers have become so expensive nowadays. The English team surprisingly won the league in the 2015/16 season, and, in consequence, they obtained cash. BEAUTIFUL CASH!! (Scrooge McDuck golden swimming pool type of cash) So...

What do you think it happened?

They went all out and broke their own club spending record three times... IN ONE SINGLE SUMMER!! (Islam Slimani from Sporting CP, Ahmed Musa from CSKA Moscow, and Wilfred Ndidi from KSR Genk... Where are those guys now, ahhh!!??). Long time ago, this kind of behaviour could have been seen as a waste of money by any club, big or small (It was! It really was!). But now, clubs just focus more and more on improving their squads, without caring too much how they spend, and that’s the major reason behind their excessive willingness to spend. LEARN FROM ARSENAL, GUYS!! LEARN FROM THOSE F****** GENIUSES!! (Just spend £1 and 50 cents, OK!?)

I would like to say that some (not everyone, OK?) football fans' demands have also turned expensive, and outrageously crazy, causing a similar problem. Let’s take FC Barcelona as a new example. As one of the best world football clubs in history (Not saying this because I'm a Barcelona fan since 1998), they are expected by their fans to win most titles out there every season. Clearly, the team has lost its original values and also has lost the pursue of giving

their best to win everything (That's why they're getting Neymar back to win the UCL. GET IN!!).

Thus, to meet those expectations, they have upped their spending when in the past they used to rely on their academy “La Masia” for supporting first team players, young players would get minutes and be set on a path to the first team. Now, with such extreme demands, fans look and want an immediate effect on the club, rather than an 18/19-year-old getting progress in 3 to 4 years, so that’s why clubs buy and buy more players they think can have an immediate impact and that’s why they’re willing to pay ridiculous quantities of cash for them. With all that said: Will football clubs stop spending so much in players in the future? Will European clubs become the new "Chinese Big Fortune Teams" like Shangai "I don't know how it was" or Daliang "What The F*** Is That"? Only time will tell (WE'RE F***** DOOMED!!).

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